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PEDRO LEE HONG HOK, SIMEON LEE HONG HOK, ROSITA LEE HONG HOK and LEONCIO LEE

HONG HOK, petitioners, vs. ANIANO DAVID, THE HON. SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES, THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. No. L-30389. December 27, 1972. FACTS: Petitioners in this appeal by certiorari seek to reverse a decision of respondent Court of Appeals affirming a lower court judgment dismissing their complaint to have the Torrens Title of respondent Aniano David declared null and void. According to the Stipulation of Facts, since the filing of the sales application of Aniano David and during all the proceedings in connection with said application, up to the actual issuance of the sales patent in his favor, the plaintiffs appellants did not put up any opposition or adverse claim thereto. David acquired lawful title pursuant to his miscellaneous sales application in accordance with which an order of award and for issuance of a sales patent was made by the Director of Lands on June 18, 1958, covering Lot 2892 containing an area of 226 square meters, which is a portion of Lot 2863 of the Naga Cadastre, On the basis of the order of award of the Director of Lands the Undersecretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources issued on August 26, 1959, Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. V-1209 pursuant to which OCT No. 510 was issued by the Register of Deeds of Naga City to defendant-appellee Aniano David on October 21, 1959.

ISSUE: Can petitioners bring an action to cancel a void certificate of title issued pursuant to a void patent?

RULING: NO. Only the Government, represented by the Director of Lands, or the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, can bring an action to cancel a void certificate of title issued pursuant to a void patent Whether the grant was in conformity with the law or not is a question which the government may raise, but until it is raised by the government and set aside, the defendant cannot question it. The legality of the grant is a question between the grantee and the government.

OH CHO, applicant and appellee, vs. THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, oppositor and appellant. [No. 48321. August 31, 1946] FACTS: The opposition of the Director of Lands is based on the applicant's lack of title to the lot, and on his disqualification, as alien, from acquiring lands of the public domain. The applicant, who is an alien, and his predecessors in interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of the lot from 1880 to the filing of the application for registration on January 17, 1940. The applicant failed to show that he has title to the lot that may be confirmed under the Land Registration Act. He failed to show that he or any of his predecessors in interest had acquired the lot from the Government, either by purchase or by grant, under the laws, orders and decrees promulgated by the Spanish Government in the Philippines, or by possessory information under the Mortgage Law (section 19, Act 496).

ISSUE: Whether or not the applicant is entitled to a decree of registration thereof under the provisions of the Public Land Act (C. A. No, 141)?

RULING: No. Under the provisions of the Act invoked by the applicant, he is not entitled to a decree of registration of the lot, because he is an alien disqualified from acquiring lands of the public domain (sections 48, 49, C. A. No. 141).The sale of the lot to the applicant should have been declared null and void. Judgment is reversed and the application for registration dismissed, without costs.

SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and DIRECTOR OF LANDS, respondents. G.R. No. 57667. May 28, 1990.* FACTS: In this petition for review on certiorari, San Miguel Corporation seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court of Appeals denying its application for registration of a parcel of land in view of its failure to show entitlement thereto. On December 23, 1975, petitioner San Miguel Corporation (SMC for brevity) purchased from Silverio Perez Lot 684, a 14,531-square-meter parcel of land located in Sta. Anastacia, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, in consideration of the sum of P133,084.80.2 On February 21, 1977, claiming ownership in fee simple of the land, SMC filed before the then Court of First Instance, now Regional Trial Court of Batangas an application for its registration under the Land Registration Act. The Solicitor General, appearing for the Republic of the Philippines, opposed the application for registration contending that SMCs claim of ownership in fee simple on the basis of a Spanish title or grant could no longer be availed of by the applicant as the six-month period from February 16, 1976 prescribed by Presidential Decree No. 892 had elapsed; that the parcel of land in question is part of the public domain, and that SMC, being a private corporation, is disqualified under Section 11, Article XIV of the Constitution from holding alienable lands of the public domain. The Solicitor General thereafter authorized the Provincial Fiscal of Batangas to appear in said case, subject to his supervision and control.

ISSUE: Whether or not the evidence presented by the petitioner is sufficient to warrant a ruling that SMC and/ or its predecessor-in-interest has a registrable right over Lot 684?

RULING: The Court holds that there is paucity of evidence of actual, notorious and exclusive possession of the property on the part of vendor Silverio Perez so as to attach to it the character of an express grant from the government. Indeed, as correctly held by the Court of Appeals, Silverio Perezs testimony, being uncorroborated, is simply self-serving and hence, undeserving of any weight. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

ALFREDO M. ALMEDA, LEONARDO M. ALMEDA and ERNESTO M. ALMEDA, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS, respondents. G.R. No. 85322. April 30, 1991.* FACTS: The case involves a parcel of land with an area of 1,208 square meters located in Barrio Pampangin, Pateros, Rizal, and described in Survey Plan Psu-128539. It was originally owned and possessed by EmilianoAlmeda, father of the petitioners, by virtue of an Escritura de Particion Extrajudicial executed on June 15, 1935, between him and his brother Adriano, wherein they attested the fact that the land in question was inherited from their parents, VedastoAlmeda and Josefa C. Concepcion, who had inherited the same from their own parents (great-grandparents of herein petitioners). After Emilianos death on May 1, 1948, his wife, Ana Menguito, and their children received the produce of the land and rented out to third persons portions of the property where Emiliano had three houses built. Upon Anas death on April 3, 1950, her children with Emiliano inherited the property and the lessees moved out. On June 9, 1980, the brothers Alfredo, Leonardo and Ernesto executed an extrajudicial partition adjudicating the land to themselves. The Almeda brothers applied for the registration of the land in the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch CLVI.

ISSUE: Whether or not applicants possession of the disputed land prior to January 3, 1968 was valid for purposes of a grant under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act.

RULING: NO. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the private respondents had not qualified for a grant under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act because their possession of the land while it was still inalienable forest land, or before it was declared alienable and disposable land of the public domain on January 13, 1968, could not ripen into private ownership, and should be excluded from the computation of the 30-year open and continuous possession in concept of owner required under Section 48(b) of Com. Act 141. It accords with our ruling in Director of Lands vs. Court of Appeals, Ibarra Bishar, et al., 178 SCRA 708, that: Unless and until the land classified as forest is released in an official proclamation to that effect so that it may form part of the disposable agricultural lands of the public domain, the rules on confirmation of imperfect title do not apply. The petition for review is denied for lack of merit.